Lamb Repeatedly Shot in the Head; PETA Seeks Criminal Probe

For Immediate Release:
December 3, 2020

David Perle 202-483-7382

Vernon County, Wis.

PETA has obtained a U.S. Department of Agriculture report revealing a November 10 violation of law at Nordik Meats outside Viroqua involving a lamb who was shot in the head twice but remained conscious and looking around the room while bleeding from the nose and mouth, before a third shot finally rendered the animal unconscious. In response, the group sent a letter this morning calling on Vernon County District Attorney Timothy Gaskell to review the incident and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the worker involved.

PETA’s request follows another that it made to Gaskell in September after an August 19 incident in which a cow cried out, bled from her nose, and tried to escape while being shot repeatedly in the head. A fifth shot finally stunned her.

“Animals victimized by the meat industry suffer terribly every single day, as this slaughterhouse’s repeated, gruesome violations show,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “Anyone disturbed by these incidents can help stop this cruelty by simply keeping animal flesh off their plates.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. The group notes that sheep, cows, pigs, chickens, and other animals feel pain and fear and value their lives, just as humans do, and that the only way to help prevent them from suffering in slaughterhouses is not to eat them.

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PETA’s letter to Gaskell follows.

December 3, 2020

The Honorable Timothy J. Gaskell

Vernon County District Attorney

Dear Mr. Gaskell:

I hope you’re well. I’m writing to follow up on my September 9 letter to you regarding a cow who was shot in the head five times by Nordik Meats, Inc., staff at the slaughterhouse outside Viroqua. You indicated on September 10 that you had passed the matter on to the Vernon County Sheriff Office for investigation. Since then, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has documented another egregious incident at the slaughterhouse.

On November 10, a worker ineffectively shot a lamb between the eyes twice, leaving the injured animal bleeding from the nose and mouth and looking around, before a third shot rendered the lamb unconscious. The FSIS report regarding this violation is attached for your convenience.

This persistent, illegal suffering plainly illustrates that FSIS enforcement actions are insufficient to deter violations at this facility and that criminal prosecution is in the best interests of the animals killed there and the public. We respectfully ask that you bring appropriate criminal charges against those responsible for these incidents—and the suffering—at Nordik Meats, Inc.

Please let us know if we can do anything to assist you. Thank you for your consideration and for the difficult work that you do.


Colin Henstock

Assistant Manager of Investigations

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